Good Morning, Siblings!
Today we will cover three very short books: 2 John, 3 John, and Jude
2 John quick facts: This book is believed (and this is supported by witness accounts at the time) to have been written by John the apostle. It is a very short letter and in it we see instructions on how to behave around those who stand against the truth, whether they be in rejection of it or false prophets/false believers.
3 John quick facts: John the apostle claims ownership of this letter in the opening verses. One of the focuses of this letter is on fellowship and how we should welcome, encourage, and support fellow believers.
Divine Placement? The placement of these books with their glaringly strong warnings against false apostles, false teachers, and people being led away from the true gospel is, in and of itself, a wakeup call. Lest we be led off the path laid out by every single book of the Bible up and including the letters of Paul (in context), these books serve as a course correction.
Each day we have to make a decision of who will be the God in our lives: YHWH or ourself. Each day we have to wake up and hand over that wheel to Him. Some days it is more tempting than others to take hold of it ourselves and at times this world will wear us down and cause us to just want to take the easy way, just let the flesh run free for a bit, and in those moments of weakness we tend to pull out one or two verses that will excuse such, untether them from the rest of the Word so we don’t risk conviction, and shut the book real quick as we go about our day with faux assurance that we are fine – because we are fine in our own eyes.
But YHWH knows us. He knows our temptations and He knows our weakness and that is why He put these books here, as guardrails for those times where we’ve left the road, are walking on the gravel, and about to jump off the side. We have these ending books as yet another safety measure to cause us to pause, reconsider, and turn back.
-Now, let’s dive into Jude as I feel the other books of John are self explanatory for the purpose and depth of our study this go around.
The thing to keep in mind about Jude is that this entire letter is referring to the body of Believers. So when we read Jude 1:4, He is referring to people creeping into the body of believers unnoticed. What do these people do? They pervert the grace of God. They teach and twist this grace to allow things that it does not allow. One example given is to allow us to follow our own flesh, rather than the Holy Spirit. A modern day example is the abuse of grace when we say that we do not have to follow His commandments or they do not apply to us. This errant teaching is not new, it is as old as satan himself.
Jude 1:5-16 details some of the ways in which people walk away from their own salvation. Pay attention to the language here and you’ll see that these are people who were once saved. I’m going to post the whole passage below and highlight some key points, then discuss a few of them.
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain (past tense) and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. Jude 1:5-16
By the past tense language we see that these were people who knew the Grace of YHWH and were counted among His people, this indictment even includes angels! These are people who have made a decisive choice, for whatever reason, to live in discordance to YHWH’s word. I discussed the doctrine of once saved always saved in a paper, here. But I do want to assure you that making a mistake, stumbling, having a moment of weakness, even having a day, week, or month of weakness, does not mean we will be counted among these people. If we humble ourselves, turn from our ways, and seek Him, He will forgive us. In essence, it all boils down to a heart matter. Are we wholeheartedly after Him or are we piece mealing little portions of our heart for Him and reserving the rest for ourselves.
This passage is also a warning to us to be careful of how we are influenced and what we allow in our lives. If we have Godly friends, we will become more Godly. If we watch argumentative television shows, we will become more argumentative. If we listen to angry music, we will become angrier.
We are sponges and we tend to soak up whatever environment is around us, so cultivate that environment carefully. Perhaps you are in an environment that is a bit more toxic in areas of which you have no control, don’t let that be an excuse not to exercise the control you do have. I’ve worked in my share of toxic work environments and so I turned my morning into a praise and worship session from the moment I woke up until I walked into the door of my workplace. The praise and worship continued inside my head all day and I just turned the volume back on high the moment I clocked out.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions,worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; – Jude 1:17-22
Take a few moments to contemplate every word, every phrase, and every ounce of wisdom in that passage.
And now, let us pray for one another, let us encourage one another, let us support one another, and let us build one another up as we go forward, living daily in this world with our hearts set on another.
I love you. Tomorrow we begin the last book.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!